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Adopting a Traumatized Dog

Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really. ~Agnes Sligh Turnbull

This is a challenging post. A year has passed since we said goodbye to Marina. She was a tough old girl, but her body just couldn’t keep up anymore. Her quality of life suffered and her pain was no longer controllable. We knew the most loving thing we could do was to let her go.

We called Dr. Kristi Freeman, the same vet that helped us with Petey in 2013. It’s never easy to say that final goodbye, but it is a bit more bearable when you can do it in your own home. Just like Petey, Marina was surrounded with her family and lots of love. We were all there for her from puppyhood to her very last breath and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Much changed during that time. One of my brothers died unexpectedly two weeks before Marina passed. I knew I wouldn’t be ready for a new companion anytime soon. I gave myself time to grieve and let things unfold on their own.

That brings me to Kaida…

A year later, I found myself looking at dogs , or just taking a “peek” at rescue websites, I knew it would be a matter of time. The feeling that something was missing started about two or three months before we ended up bringing home our newest family member. Somehow, we’ve always “known” when the right companion comes along. This was no different.

Kaida was rescued from the illegal dog meat trade in Southeast Asia by the Soi Dog Foundation (SDF). They in turn partner with other rescue organizations in the US to help find forever homes. Kaida spent a year in Vietnam with SDF and was brought into the states in October of 2017. She was destined for a horrific fate, and has the internal and external scars of a traumatized dog. Thanks to the love, dedication, and compassion of SDF and The Barking Lot, we are able to give Kaida her forever home.

There’s much more to share about Kaida’s journey, and I’d love to hear about your experiences with dogs that have had a traumatic past.

Goodnight Sweet Petey

We Love you Petey

We Love you Petey

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive. ~Gilda Radner

It is with great sadness that I let you know of the passing of our dear, sweet Petey. Many of you started following this blog because of his battle with IMHA, and it’s similarities to Evan’s.

It was not IMHA that took him, rather his tired body, and our desire to always return his unconditional love .  For this reason, we made the most painful, yet responsible decision when it became clear that his qualty of life would no longer be what he deserved to have.  Because we loved him, we did not want to subject him to a life of pain from advanced osteoarthritis and a now fragile and unforgiving body.  We are heartbroken over the loss, but better for having had his love in our lives.

We cannot thank Dr. Peter Slusser and the amazing team at VCA Animal Group for their outstanding care. It is because of their care and compassion that Petey pulled through his bout with IMHA. I give them my highest reommendation, and my utmost respect. If you know me, you know that is not something I give easily. Thank you Dr. Christine Wilson for referring us to Dr. Slusser.

Our entire family would also like to thank Dr. Kristi Freeman, who, through her kindness, compassion, and dedication to animal companions, allowed Petey’s final moments to be filled with love and peace.  Without a doubt, Petey’s second chance at life would not have been possible without Forte Animal Rescue and it’s volunteers Raquel Magro and Diane, who quietly work behind the scenes to create forever homes. It’s because of them, that the unwanted, forgotten and abused come into the lives of those lucky enough to be chosen to be their forever caretakers.

Following is an excerpt of my letter thanking Marie Atake, founder of Forte and volunteers Raquel and Diane for all they do. They are my heroes and I am eternally grateful to them for introducing me to Petey and allowing us the honor of caring for him for the last eight years. We love you Petey, we will miss you, and you will forever live in our hearts. Goodnight my dear “Sweety Petey.”

Email Excerpt:

Thank you for sending Petey your thoughts and prayers today. During a most difficult time, Dr. Kristi Freeman helped us give Petey the best farewell he could have possibly had. She is the kindest, gentlest person you could imagine and Petey took to her immediately, she even won Marina over and she is much tougher to win over.

Since we were at home, Petey was very comfortable and had all of us around him. He was given a deep sedative/anesthetic and you could tell when he became pain-free, there was such a sense of peace. He was awake with us long enough to experience the relief of pain and know without a doubt that he was very loved. That love is the last thing that he was aware of. When he was in the deepest sleep, Dr. Freeman gave him the second injection and he was very peacefully released from his tired body. All I sensed, in every moment, was peace. It was the best one could hope for at such a difficult time, and the best send-off our dear friend could have had.

His ashes will be back to us in a week or so, his love will never leave us. After some time at home today, we went to the ocean, it’s the place where Eddie and I both feel the most connected to the universe. As we were walking towards the sand, the very first thing we encountered was someone walking a big pointy-eared dog and the second thing we encountered was a man walking a dog who could have been Petey’s twin, big ears and all. It made my heart feel good to see him running. Maybe it’s just to make myself feel better, but I liked to see it as a sign that our Petey boy was free and happy again. They were the only dogs we saw our entire time there.

And so it goes, our hearts break, but they are a little bigger for having had such a wonderful companion in our lives. Thank you both for all you do and thank you for giving us the opportunity to have Petey and his unconditional love in our lives.

Dogs and Fireworks

Cajun loved us but not fireworks...

Happy Independence Day!

I hope you have a wonderful day planned doing something you enjoy to celebrate our freedom. If those plans happen to include leaving your companions at home, I’ve included links to two articles with tips for helping your dogs cope with fireworks anxiety.

We happen to live in an area where every night at 9;50 p.m., we can hear the fireworks show at SeaWorld. Thankfully, Petey and Marina have been with us long enough to finally be desensitized to them. The louder Fourth of July fireworks still give them a bit of anxiety but on a much smaller scale than when thy first joined us. In the years that we are not at home,  we make sure to leave the TV on to help block out some of the noise.

Our previous companion, Canjun, was deathly afraid of load noises and never adjusted to them.  The weekly trash trucks would scare him to the point that he would shake for an hour after they left.  Fireworks were very difficult for him. You have to know your dog and what works best for them. If you leave your companions alone today, make sure that every possible escape route is blocked off. Even a tall fence isn’t always enough to stop a traumatized dog from jumping over – especially the wooden fences that have the backs of the boards facing towards your yard – they make great steps for leverage. More dogs escape on this day than any other.

Please take a moment to read some of the tips below. If you have a tip that worked well for you – I’d love for you to share it in the comment section. Have a safe and happy Independence Day!

From Cesar Milan:

From Mad Mikes America:

Don’t forget to share YOUR tips!

Top Toxic Foods to Dogs


Petey listening for food sounds

It’s that time of the year again – we’re cooking, baking, and having parties. It’s ok to include your fur-kids in the festivities – however, it’s NOT ok for them to enjoy the same foods as you.  Some seemingly harmless foods can be fatal.  Most people know that chocolate is deadly to dogs – but take a look at this list, and I’ll bet you’ll be surprised by several items…

If you’re a super messy animated cook like I am, you really have to keep an eye on your little darlings. Mine can sniff out goodies a mile away and can catch anything falls their way well before it ever hits the floor. Take a look at the list below – courtesy of the ASPCA


Food Reason Toxic Food Reason Toxic
Alcoholic Beverages Alcoholic  beverages of any kind can cause vomiting, decreased coordination, intoxication, tremors, coma, and even death.
Apple Cores Apple Cores are not safe for dogs. Carefully cut and peeled apples are okay but never let your dog eat the stems or the core or seeds of an apple.
Bones Bones – It’s best to not give your dog bones of any kind. They can splinter or get lodged in the  intestinal tract or can cause choking. In any case, it’s not worth an emergency room visit. Just say no to bones.
Chives Chives, are also part of the onion family and damage blood  cells.
Chocolate Chocolate affects both the heart and nervous system and can cause seizures, coma, and death! note: the darker the chocolate the more dangerous.
Citrus Fruits Citrus Fruits including oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruit, etc… can cause vomiting upsetting the digestive system.
Coffee,Tea, Caffeine Coffee – Tea – Caffeine should never be given to a dog as it affects the heart and nervous systems.
Fatty Foods Fatty  Foods – All fatty foods should be avoided especially for Schnauzers who are prone to life-threatening pancreatitis.
Garlic Garlic,  although less toxic than onions has the same effect – causing anemia in dogs by damaging the red blood cells.
Tomatoes – Green Parts (Leaves,Stems) Green  parts of Tomatoes (leaves, stems) can affect the digestive, nervous, and urinary systems.
Hops Hops  which are used to make beer as well as other foods, are very toxic to dogs causing heavy panting, increased heart rate, fever, seizures and death.
Lunch Meats/Cold Cuts Lunch meats or cold cuts contain way too much salt and nitrates which can lead to digestive and kidney problems. Store bought cold cuts are bad
foods for dogs.
Macadamia Nuts Macadamia nuts cause weakness, muscle tremors, and vomiting in  dogs.
Moldy Foods Moldy foods or Spoiled foods – Dogs can die from eating moldy or spoiled foods which cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures, and death.
Mushrooms Mushrooms can contain toxins which can lead to death.
Nutmeg Nutmeg can cause tremors, seizures and death
Onions Onions damage red blood cells causing anemia.
Peach and Plum Pits Peach and Plum Pits – the pits of fruits contain cyanide which is deadly to dogs. Other pitted fruits to stay away from are apricots, cherries, etc…
Potato Peels or Green Potatoes Potato Peels or Green Potatoes can affect the digestive, nervous, and urinary systems.
Raisens Raisins and Grapes can cause kidney damage or failure in dogs.
Rhubarb Rhubarb plant can affect the digestive system as well as the urinary and nervous systems.
Walnuts Walnuts which become moldy after a rain become infected with fungus and mold that produces
toxins. If ingested, your Schnauzer can become extremely ill and possibly  die. Signs of walnut poisoning are vomiting, trembling, drooling, lack of coordination,  lethargy, loss of appetite, and jaundice indications such as yellowing  eyes and gums.
Xylitol Xylitol – a sweetener used in many human foods that can cause liver failure & death
Yeast Dough Yeast  Dough causes gas and digestive problems. It can also expand rupturing the or stomach.

All this and more can be found in the Dog Do Workbook over there on the right. Download it and let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see covered!

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